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Volume 24 No. 160
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     ESPN's Brett Haber opened his report on the first day of the
U.S. Open by saying, "Men's tennis almost went on strike on
Monday."  Foreign players kept up their criticism of the USTA's
decision not to go by the ATP computer ranking and conduct their
own draw with allegations that the system was "rigged" in favor
of U.S. players.  The theory, according to the critics, is that
the USTA wants to keep U.S. players -- particularly Agassi, Chang
and Sampras -- alive in the tournament for as long as possible to
maintain high TV ratings and ticket sales.  USTA President Les
Snyder:  "The important thing for folks to remember is that this
is in the rules -- that we have a contract with the ATP that
we'll use the ranking system for entry in the tournament, but not
necessarily for seeding.  All four Grand Slams have agreed to
that" ("SportsCenter," 8/26).  NEWSDAY's John Jeansonne reports,
"Actual tennis action seemed to be bumped right off the radar
screen by the brewing hurricane" (NEWSDAY, 8/27).  In
Philadelphia, Bill Fleischman writes, "The U.S. Open is burdened
with a controversy that won't go away" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 8/27).
Thomas Muster, who dropped from No. 2 in the ATP rankings to a
No. 3 seed, "ripped the process" at a players-only meeting on
Sunday, while taking several "shots" at Agassi (ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 8/27).  Michael Stich said he almost pulled out of
the tournament in protest before his opening match yesterday.
Stich said the players should have boycotted Monday to "get a
stronger message through."  Michael Chang, who replaced Muster as
No. 2, said the reason he was a "no-show" at an ATP press
conference on the matter was because he never received an invite.
Chang supports the players' position (Gene Wojciechowski, CHICAGO
TRIBUNE, 8/27).